Dear colleagues and friends, As neurosurgeons and neuroscientists, we marvel daily at the capacity of the human brain to repair and heal itself.
Linda Liau, MD, PhD Interim Chair of Neurosurgery
Yet it is our patients’ courage to triumph over the most devastating conditions that inspires us to continue our exploration into the inner space of the brain and spine, as we unearth solutions to the most critical neurological problems that face millions of Americans today. The recently launched national initiative to map the human brain feels similar to the country’s ambition to land a man on the moon. In my opinion, our team of biomedical scientists and surgeons are closer than ever to unraveling the mysteries of some of the most puzzling diseases such as cancer, stroke, traumatic injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and autism.
In reporting on our innovative technology and latest research endeavors, we share the stories of how we have profoundly improved the quality of life and, in many cases, saved the lives of our patients and their families. We use a 360-degree integrative and multidisciplinary team approach to patient care that translates into superior clinical outcomes.
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center consistently ranks number one on the West Coast and in the top five in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. The UCLA Department of Neurosurgery also ranks year after year in the top 10 in the world according to U.S. News and World Report. Our high annual rankings are the result of our patients’ successes combined with our innovation to translate science and technology into medical breakthroughs at the bedside.
Our UCLA Brain Injury Research Center translates the biology of traumatic brain injury into real-world treatments to raise the standard of care and protect our soldiers on the battlefield, athletes on the sports field and children on the playground. Their expertise has led to advising the U.S. Military, the NFL and the recent release of the first evidence-based guidelines for sports concussions. The UCLA Stroke Center continues to be a world leader in research and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. Certified by the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center and funded by a prestigious National Institutes of Health SPOTRIAS (Specialized Programs of Translational Research in Acute Stroke) grant, it is one of just eight such centers in the country. We reach beyond our community to serve the entire Southern California region with the Telestroke unit, and hospitals across the country through our Tele-ICU network, which beams in a neurointensivist via telemedicine to treat critical patients in community hospitals lacking this expertise. Our endovascular devices invented at UCLA circle the globe treating patients with stroke.
The UCLA Brain Tumor Program continues to shine as a beacon of hope, carrying a record of patients with brain tumors living longer than patients treated at any other hospital. Our personalized brain cancer vaccine, DCVax, is the first of its kind and is currently in Phase III clinical trials in 46 centers throughout America. It is on the road to FDA approval as well as clinical trials throughout Europe. Using this vaccine, we are harnessing the patient’s immune system, genetics, pathology, brain mapping and a wide database of bioinformatics to optimize outcomes.
Through a recently-awarded NIH grant in the UCLA Spine Center, we are innovating next-generation neurobionics and neuromodulation with interventions that may enable patients with severe paralysis to stand, step, and regain voluntary muscle control once lost to injury. Additionally, our neuroscientists recently discovered that stimulating the entorhinal cortex in the brain could lead to boosting memory in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Looking ahead, we are on the threshold of opening the Global Neurosurgery Institute in the Edie and Lew Wasserman Building at UCLA to deploy the latest advancements in telemedicine that will surround our patients with world-class expertise. Today, we will share how we make beating impossible odds possible, by staying focused on our mission of working together as a team to provide exceptional patient care and invent the future of neurosurgery.
We welcome you to UCLA Neurosurgery!
—Linda Liau Interim Chair, MD, PhD, MBA UCLA Department of Neurosurgery